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Torah and Torah Commentary

Note: There's lots of information on Torah and Talmud (understatement of the year), and one should contact a competent rabbi for guided study.

General Information

Alter, Robert. The Art of Biblical Narrative. Basic Books; 1983. Paperback. Reprint edition. ISBN 0-465004-27-X.
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Alter, Robert (ed); Kermode, Frank (ed). The Literary Guide to the Bible. Harvard Univ Pr; 1990. Paperback. Reprint edition. ISBN 0-674875-31-1.
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Holtz, Barry W. Back to the Sources: Reading the Classic Jewish Texts. Summit Books; 1986. Paperback reprint edition. ISBN 0-671605-96-8.
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Parry, Rabbi Aaron. The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Talmud. Paperback: 345 pages. Publisher: Alpha Books (August 1, 2004). ISBN 1-592572-02-2. Companion website:
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Visotzky, Burton L. Reading the Book: Making the Bible a Timeless Text. Schocken Books; 1996. Paperback. ISBN 0-805210-72-5.
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Torah/Torah Commentary

Armstrong, Karen. In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis. Alfred A. Knopf; 1996. Hardcover. ISBN 0-679450-89-0.
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Alter, Robert (ed). Genesis: Translation and Commentary. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.; 1997. Paperback reprint edition. ISBN 0-393316-70-X.
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Alter, Judah Aryeh Leib; Green, Arthur (trans.); Gluskin, Shai. The Language of Truth: The Torah Commentary of Sefat Emet. Jewish Publication Society; 1998. Hardcover. ISBN 0-827606-50-8.
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Chavel, Charles B.(trans); Maimonides, Moses. The 613 Commandments. Soncino Pr Ltd; 1967. Paperback. ISBN 1-871055-20-2. [A translation of Maimonides's Sefer HaMitzvot, a list and explaination of the 613 commandments. Won lots of awards.]
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Chavel, Charles B. Ramban (Nachmanides: Commentary on the Torah). Shilo Publishing House; 1971. Hardcover. 5 Volume set. ISBN 0-686867-43-2. [A translation of the 2nd most used commentary (after Rashi)]
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Chill, Abraham. The Mitzvot: The Commandments and Their Rationale. Bloch, New York. 1974. ISBN 0-819703-76-1. May be out of print.

Cohen, A. and Rosenberg, A. J. The Soncino Chumash. Soncino Press. [This popular Chumash presents the Hebrew text and English translation along with a commentary digest which presents midrashic, philosophical and literary interpretations by such commentators as Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Rambam, Sforno, Nachmanides and Gersonides.]

Culi, Yaakov and others. The Torah Anthology. 19 vols. Moznaim, NY. 1977-1985. [Volumes cover the Torah, with separate ones on megillahs and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.]:

Fields, Harvey J. A Torah Commentary for Our Times. Union of American Hebrew Congregations; 1998. Paperback. Boxed edition (3 vols). ISBN 0-807405-30-2. [Reform]
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Fox, Everett (ed.). The Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: A New Translation With Introductions, Commentary, and Notes. Schocken Books; 1997. Hardcover. ISBN 0-805241-40-X.
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Jewish Publication Society. The Holy Scripture According to the Masoretic Text. Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia PA. 1917.

Jewish Publication Society: Orlinsky, Harry M. (ed.). The Torah: The Five Books of Moses. Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia PA. 1962. 3rd edition, 1992. ISBN 0-827600-15-1.
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Jewish Publication Society: Ginsberg, H. L. (Translator); David, Ismar (Illustrator). Five Megilloth and Jonah: A New Translation. Jewish Publication Society; 1969, 1994. Hardcover. ISBN 0-827600-45-3.
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Jewish Publication Society. Tanakh: A New Translation of the Holy Scriptures According to the Traditional Hebrew Text. Jewish Publication Society; 1985. Paperback. ISBN 0-827603-66-5. Hardback, 1988. ISBN 0-827602-52-9. [This one volume translation of the Hebrew Bible has received accolades for its clear and faithful presentation. It represents more than 25 years of research and collaboration between rabbis of all denominations, and many Semitic language and Bible scholars.]
Paperback: [Buy at Amazon:]; Hardback: [Buy at Amazon:]

Jewish Publication Society; Sarna, Nahum M. (ed.);Potok, Chaim (ed.). The JPS Torah Commentary: The Traditional Hebrew Text With the New JPS Translation. Hardcover. 5 book set. ISBN 0-827603-31-2.
[Buy at Amazon:]. As Individual Volumes:

Hertz, J.H. (ed). The Pentateuch and Haftorahs: Hebrew Text, English Translation, and Commentary. Soncino Pr Ltd.; 1976. Hardcover. ISBN 0-900689-21-8. [More popularly known as "The Hertz Chumash", this is a standard Chumash used in most Conservative and Orthodox shuls. Presents the Hebrew text and English translation of the Torah and the Haftorahs. Has a lucid exposition of the text which explains the ethical and spiritual teachings of the Torah from a wide range of classical and scholarly literature.]
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Heschel, Abraham Joshua. The Prophets 2 volumes. JPS, 1962. Harpercollins, 1975. Vol.1 ISBN 0-061314-21-8. Vol.2 ISBN 0-061315-57-5. [One of the 20th centuries most influential works on the subject, it studies the Prophets in depth. Covers the life of the Prophets, the historical context their missions were set in, summarizes their work, and discusses their psychological state. It gives a detailed treatment of the entire phenomenon of prophecy.]
I: [Buy at Amazon:]; II: [Buy at Amazon:]

Hirsch, Samson Raphael (ed); Levy, Isaac (ed). Hirsch Chumash (7 vol.). Judaica Pr. 1963. Hardcover edition. ISBN 0-910818-12-6.
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ben Isaiah, (Rabbi) Abraham, and Sharfman, (Rabbi) Binyamin, in collaberation with Dr. Harry M. Orlinsky and Rabbi Dr. Morris Charner. The Pentateuch and Rashi's Commentary: A Linear Translation into English. 5 vols. SS&R Publishing Co., JPS, Philadelphia PA. 1950. [A very useable translation as the wording and linear translation are broken up to make both the Hebrew and English readable together. The Rash is printed in started Hebrew print with the vowels put in besides the linear translation.]

Judaica Press. Prophets and Writings. Judaica Press, NY. [A new, modern, traditional translation of text and classic commentaries, including all of Rashi, with Hebrew text. Judaica Press has also indicated that they will be putting out an equivalent for the Torah.]

Kaplan, Aryeh. The Living Torah Hebrew: The Five Books of Moses and the Haftarot/Hebrew and English in One Volume. Moznaim Pub Corp; 1981. Hardcover. ISBN 0-940118-72-6. [This book deserves special mention as a study text. Many groups, including Reform, use him as a source because of this superiority.]
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Kushner, Lawrence S.; Olitzky, Kerry M. Sparks Beneath the Surface: A Spiritual Commentary on the Torah. Jason Aronson; 1995. Paperback. ISBN 1-568217-43-9. [Modern interpretation]
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Lieber, David L. Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary (JPS Bible Commentary). Jewish Publication Society of America (September, 2001). English. ISBN: 0827607121
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Newman, Aryeh. Studies in the Pentateuch (by Prof. Nechama Leibowitz). World Zionist Organization Torah Education Dept. 1980. May be out of print. [This is based on Professor Leibowitz's weekly Parsha study sheets that were mailed all over the world in the fifties. They contain a set of discussions of each parsha with basic concepts learned from the meforshim.]

Sarna, Nahum M. Understanding Genesis the Heritage of Biblical Israel. Schocken Books; 1970. Paperback. ISBN 0-805202-53-6.
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Sarna, Nahum M. On the Book of Psalms: Exploring the Prayers of Ancient Israel. Schocken Books; 1995. Paperback. Reissue edition. ISBN 0-805210-23-7.
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Sarna, Nahum M. Exploring Exodus: The Origins of Biblical Israel. Schocken Books; 1996. Paperback. Reprint edition. ISBN 0-805210-63-6.
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Schneersohn, Menahem. The Chassidic Dimension: Interpretations of the Weekly Torah Readings Based on the Talks of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn. Sichos In English; 1990. Hardcover. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. ISBN 0-826604-84-6.
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Schneersohn, Menahem Mendel; Sacks, Jonathan. Torah Studies: Discourses. Kehot Publication Society; 1991, 1996. Hardcover. New revised edition. ISBN 0-826604-93-5. [From the Chasidic point of view, short essays on the weekly Torah reading based on talks of the Lubavitch Rebbe.]
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Scherman, Nosson. The Chumash: Stone Edition of the Artscroll Chumash. Mesorah Pubns Ltd; 1993. Hardcover. ISBN 0-899060-14-5.
Hardcover: [Buy at Amazon:] or [Buy at Artscroll:]
A Variety of Editions: [Buy at Artscroll:]

Silberman, A.M.; Rosebaum, M. Chumash with Rashi's Commentary (includes Bereishith, Shemoth, Vayikra, Bemidbar, and Devarim). Hebrew Publishing Company; 1984. Philipp Feldheim; 1985. Hardcover. Reprint edition. ISBN 0-873060-19-9. [First published in 1934. Has comments and explanatory notes accompanying the translation.]
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Zornberg, Avivah Gottlieb. The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis. Image Books; 1996. Paperback. ISBN 0-385483-37-6.
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© (c) 1993-2001 Daniel P. Faigin <>